For Broncos, their win streak starts on Wednesdays
Nov 30, 2023, 2:29 AM | Updated: 8:38 am
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have the NFL’s longest winning streak. In that five-game stretch, they have three wins by two or fewer points. And in the other two wins, the Broncos rode a turnover-differential advantage and a ground-intensive offense peppered with vertical-stretch shots.
They’ve been outgained in three of the last four wins. But when you have a turnover margin of plus-2 or better in those contests, you can make up for it.
Denver wins games at the margins. By being resourceful. By cobbling together a crucial scoring drive when it’s needed the most. And they win with a tenacity established during the week.
“We go at it in practice. Especially on Wednesdays,” center Lloyd Cushenberry III said. “It’s kind of a camp atmosphere, the way we’re competing and going at it.”
Wednesday is the day when the Broncos emphasize the ground game that has become the backbeat of their offense. It allows the Broncos to control the tempo, which has resulted in winning the time-of-possession battle in three of their last four games.
“It’s the base run plan,” right tackle Mike McGlinchey said of Wednesday’s work. “We get the full work of combinations, we get the full work of running off the ball, we get the full work of all that in individual (periods).”
And while the Broncos get to other situational work on Thursdays and Fridays, it’s the first day of practice each week that sets the tone.
“We firmly believe that you’ve gotta win Wednesday to be able to win on Sunday,” McGlinchey said.
And for that matter …
“You’ve gotta win Thursday before you can win on Sunday,” he added.
BRONCOS USUALLY DON PADS ON WEDNESDAYS
Now, they’ll be limited on how often they can do this going forward. Teams are allotted 14 full-pad practices in a regular season — but only three are allowed in the final six weeks of the campaign. So, some Broncos Wednesday sessions might lack the thump of earlier ones.
But the tone has been set.
“And certainly Sean (Payton) is an old-school coach, and he likes the work, and he likes the pads popping,” McGlinchey said, “and I think that’s been a huge factor of why we’ve been able to keep climbing as the season went on, is because of those practices and the way that they are intense.”
That carries over to the practices not in full pads, as well — and to players down the depth chart.
Looking for a reason why the Broncos are finding ways to win? It starts with intense, competitive practices, as Lloyd Cushenberry explains: “… We go at it in practice. Especially on Wednesdays. It's kind of a camp atmosphere, the way we're competing and going at it." pic.twitter.com/z1GwGLsOrI
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) November 30, 2023
“Competing,” Cushenberry said. “Our scout-team defense does a great job — especially the D-line, with P.J. Mustipher and Elijah Garcia, they give us great work every day.”
Cushenberry’s sentiments about the quality of the scout-team front seven are shared.
“I totally agree with Lloyd,” McGlinchey said. “I think they’ve had a great year for us. They do a great job. … They’re talented football players, and they’re great teammates. They buy into what we need them to do, week to week, different schemes, different techniques — which is not exactly the easiest thing to do when you’re in one system and you play a certain way, and you’ve got to tell them, ‘Hey, we’ve gotta change, because Cleveland and Houston play completely different style ball.’
“… The buy-in from those guys is so special, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why our offensive line has improved week-to-week.”